Some people talk about planner peace like it actually exists, and some people enter a new phase of life every twenty minutes. I bet you’ll be able to guess which one I am when I start talking about why I switched to the Hobonichi Weeks.

images of Hobonichi Weeks spreads using stickers, highlighters, and black felt-tip pen with the text "Pros and Cons of the Hobonichi Weeks"

If you’re seeing that picture of the Hobonichi Weeks and thinking, “absolutely not, that is way too small for any sort of meaningful planning,” please know that I hear you.

I, too, was once like you.

But things have changed. A lot.

I have had a planner or agenda sort of thing since middle school. We had to have the school-branded one in middle school, and got graded on whether or not we used it. This was largely to get students to plan ahead and record necessary information.

It was a good idea, though I do think it was a little aggressive. They literally made us write down what was done in class that day, whether or not it was important or not. And if you ever attended public schools in the U.S., you know that there is just a lot of time wasted for the sake of norming.

But I still kept using planners in high school, college, and grad school. I’d put in due dates and make count downs, and just try to keep my head above water.

But after my second masters degree, I went plannerless for a time. And in that time, I didn’t get a lot done. There was no blogging or fiction writing or self-improvement.

Without the reminders and self-imposed deadlines, I just didn’t do a lot.

So, I tried a few options. For a while, I was a proponent of the Barnes and Noble Desk Diary they release every year. It’s a great way to keep appointments in one place.

Then, I tried an Erin Condren Planner for a time. But I hate coil-bound shit, and the cover is literally laminated chipboard, so like, no thanks.

And then, I found the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, and that kind of sent me on a tailspin.

I’ve used a personal size traveler’s notebook, the Passion Planner, a bullet journal, the Write Words Get Paid Planner, a Frankensteined system of my own creation, and finally, the Hobonichi Weeks.

Each system has its pros and cons. But for now, I’m pretty happy I’ve made the switch.

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Why I Switched to a Hobonichi Weeks for 2022

Has anyone else felt like a rudderless boat adrift on the waves of ennui for the past couple of years?

Which is to say, it’s hard to plan and meet goals in the midst of a pandemic, a far fright global power grab, and a botched live action Cowboy Bebop.

(I really respect the sets and costume design, but the writing took out everything that made Cowboy Bebop the cult classic it was. Also, nobody cares about Julia and Vicious, much less Julia’s Girl Boss origin story. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.)

I knew I needed something that would let me plan and rein me in when I went rogue. There were two reasons why I switched.

  1. More focus. It’s too small to get overly quixotic with my grand schemes and business machinations.
  2. Less manic planning. If you don’t have space to plan the idle notions that strike your mind out of the blue, you don’t do it.

Also, I really liked all the walk throughs of the Hobonichi Weeks I saw on YouTube, and thought the future log had some potential.

So, I went with it.

I’ve been using it since mid-December, and there is a lot of good, and some not-so-good.

Pros of the Hobonichi Weeks

There’s a lot to like about the Hobonichi Weeks. But there are a few things I’d like to point out.

001: The Hobonichi Weeks is small and portable.

This is always an important thing to me. No, I’m not really going anywhere right now. But I like to have a planner that I can toss in a bag easily. It can’t take up too much space, especially if I’m at a conference and have such precious little room in my bag and need to stow a laptop and several snacks.

It can easily fit in a purse too, and it’s not a burden in said purse.

For the most part, it sits open on my desk these days. But the small size of it is great for that too. I can have other notebooks open next to it so I can check my daily plans against the plans of a specific project easily, or cross reference what I have in the Hobonichi Weeks with what’s listed on Google Calendar for that day.

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002: It’s mostly set up, but can be customized.

I used to enjoy bullet journaling. And to an extent, I still do. But I hate having to set stuff up. I’m burnt out and tired and don’t have the energy for drawing a whole-ass calendar every month.

But the cool thing about the Hobonichi Weeks is that it has a set weekly spread, but there’s tons of space for you to modify it. I split my days into columns for deadlines, events, to do items, and words written that day. And there’s still space left over to take notes about stuff or put little reminders, or just to write my word count at the end of the last writing sprint.

There is a future spread at the front, monthly calendars for every month, weekly spreads for each week of the year, and blank pages at the back for whatever you need.

003: The paper quality is great.

I think the American people need to know that basic-ass printer paper is shit, and they need to stop settling for that.

The Hobonichi Weeks is a Japanese planner, so of course, it’s made of Tomoe River Paper. This paper is sturdy and strong, but also thin. So the planner isn’t super thick. It works well with a bunch of different types of ink, and I’ve even used stickers and highlighters with it too.

Cons of the Hobonichi Weeks

Look. Nothing is perfect. And that is why I think planner peace is a fairytale. Here are some of the things that I dislike about the Hobonichi Weeks:

001: It may have more than I need.

So, for the most part, no one is really mad when they get more than they paid for. And I will say, the Hobonichi Weeks isn’t an expensive planner, especially when you look at a lot of the other systems out there.

But there are pages that I will probably never use.

Like the future log? I purchased this planner because I thought it was going to be the thing that revolutionized my life. And I haven’t touched it. Also, I probably won’t use all the blank pages at the back.

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And if I’m being honest, I haven’t really touched the monthly spreads since all the information is in my Google Calendar.

The weekly spreads are definitely where it shines for me, and the rest is just kind of icing on the cake. So, I’m saying this cake has a lot of icing.

002: Pen ghosting is a problem.

Tomoe River Paper is amazing, but there is some ghosting, especially if you use a black felt tip pen. For the most part, this doesn’t bother me. But I know that some people hate this.

And on that note, because the paper is so thin, there are some occasions where I can see the stickers I’ve put on the previous page through the current page. I also recommend using some kind of pencil board when you do use it, just because you may leave indentations on the next page when you’re writing.

003: The cute planner pressure is real.

There are so many Hobonichi Weeks users out there, and they’re posting their pages on Instagram.

For my part, I have started to post mine too, but I like to think that my pages are the attainable version of what you can do with the planner. There are folks out there buying whole-ass sticker sets for every month, and that is definitely not my style.

I have found that there are some users out there who have some really cute, but also functional spreads. I recommend checking out Paper Joy PH on YouTube. She uses her planners for life and her graduate studies, so you know what she does is functional and helpful. But it also tends to look really cute too.

Now I Kind of Want a Hobonichi Techo

So, I’ll end this post by simply saying that when you start using a Hobonichi, you suddenly become super interested in a lot of the other planners and sizes they have. So don’t be shocked when I write a whole post about using the Hobonichi Techo next year.

Have you found planner peace? Have you ever used the Hobonichi Weeks? Do you like switching to smaller planners to keep your plans in check?

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